Biff loses his office lease

In a post a couple of days ago, I wrote about a Minneapolis venture capitalist Tom Austin who challenged a group of black men when they entered the gym in his office building because he felt that they had no right to be there. He told them that he was going to call the police because they were behaving in a threatening manner. It turned out that the men also had an office in the same building and thus they were perfectly entitled to use the gym. (I am calling Austin ‘Biff’ for acting like the male equivalent of a ‘Karen’, which is “a mocking slang term for an entitled, obnoxious, middle-aged white woman.”)

Well, as a result of the video of Biff’s behavior going viral, the company that owns the building have terminated his lease.

A Minneapolis venture capitalist’s office lease has been terminated after a video went viral showing him asking a group of black entrepreneurs if they were tenants of the building and thus allowed to use its gym.

Stuart Ackerberg, CEO of Ackerberg Group, which owns the Mozaic East building, said he was already feeling heartbroken upon seeing the Floyd video when he saw the video of the confrontation at the gym in his own building.

“My heart hurts,” he said. “This is not how we do business. … I’m alarmed by what I saw.”

He said that two WeWork members had used their key fobs to access the gym on Tuesday night. And he assumes the other people in the Top Figure group also were employees.

“It appears they had every right to be there and to use that amenity,” he said.

Ackerberg said he spoke to Austin on Wednesday and expressed his dismay.

“I shared with him that I did not think it was handled well and there are other ways to go about this,” he said. “It’s unfortunate. Our goal is to create a safe and inviting experience for everybody.”

We need not feel sorry for Biff for losing his lease. As a venture capitalist, I am sure that he will find another place where he can harass people of color who happen to invade ‘his’ space.


  1. Holms says

    Risk is a part of venture capitalism. I am sure he can take this in stride… or at least put a good face on it.

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